Meet at the market: a rare find

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Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market.

This week, she caught up with Jay Ruskey, owner of Goodland Organics. This Goleta farm grows rare and exotic fruits you won’t find at neighboring stands. Katie asked how you eat these intriguing yet intimidating fruits, and what unique projects he’s got in the works.

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Clockwise from top left: pomegranate, coffee beans, white sapote and caviar limes

Here are some of Ruskey’s rare finds:

    • Caviar Limes (also known as finger limes) are a micro citrus that originated from the bush of Australia. Slice it open, squeeze the husk with your fingers and the vesicles will pour out of the husk in tact. Garnish on any food or drink that needs a lime “pop,” like mojitos, salad dressings, sushi or sorbets.
    • White sapote has a thin skin and custard-like flavor and texture, reminiscent of a peach or banana.
    • Ruskey grows coffee beans in avocado regions through the California Coffee Project and Diversitree Nursery. So far, almost 10,000 coffee trees have been planted at 16 farms (including his own), stretching from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. You can pick up your own tree at the stand.
    • 2You might see signs for goji berries at smoothie and juice bars, but have you ever seen a fresh one? You can buy his fresh gojis at Whole Foods.
    • A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus. France, Spain and Italy created a culture around the truffle, and now countries like Australia, New Zealand and Morocco are establishing groves. Ruskey is trying to bring them to California.
    • Passion fruit tastes great on top of greek yogurt, in smoothies or reduced down to a syrup for pancakes or desserts.

To check out all our past farmers market segments, click here.